Osaka, Florida & Sobriety, Lately

Layer by layer, the heart sews itself back together.

This is the magical aftermath of reading a novel by Lauren Groff. Florida was rich and nostalgic. It rooted me into our new home of Osaka and reminded me of where my parents and grandparents came from—it pieced together some of my oldest sides into where I am currently standing.

Quality time in sobriety opens the flood gates for gooey parts of my past to roll in. Sometimes these memories are a knife in my side. They make me gasp out loud like a psychic with a sudden vision.

Other times, memories have a slow reveal. They open like a flower from inside of my chest spreading out to the tops of my cheeks. These memories stretch my smile wider than I ever thought possible.

Like the one at Disney World when I was maybe five. My younger sister was too small for some of the rides. The only one we could go on together was the Flying Dumbo ride.

This memory melted over me as I closed my eyes to fall asleep last night. I felt the wind on my face from so many years ago. Cotton candy colors whipped around for no reason. Distant memories have frayed edges like clouds, and since we were riding flying Dumbos—clouds seemed really perfect.

Once I think I am done, another space in my heart opens up.

Forgiveness is strange like this.

This is a safe neighborhood.

Every evening I walk under a purple sky until the street lamps turn on—until colonies of bats tilt in and out of the trees. This is Osaka in the summertime.

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Osaka Castle Park

The thick, summer air and the familiar song of cicadas bring me all the way back to Florida. I had no idea someone could miss a sound this much until we got here.

Our grocery store is one train stop away, and there is a big park with plum groves and a 16th century castle across the street.

My grandparents video call when it is 8:15 p.m. in central Florida (9:15 a.m. in Japan). I walk and talk to them as I leave the store with my canvas bags full of groceries. Hearing both of my grandparents talk with the echos of singing insects is heaven to me.

My husband went back to work today after a two-week break from the show.

We don’t seem to mind that we live in a hotel without a kitchen in this city. We have a cutting board and a proper knife resting on the little nook above our miniature fridge.

It amazes me what one can do without when one must do without.

We go jogging together in the park. We take turns sitting on each other’s feet for reps of sit ups. We make executive decisions like starting school online and keeping all of my books despite claims of wanting to be free of all of the books. We buy too many soaps, scrubs and bath bombs from the LUSH store. We feel obligated to take long baths and showers to be extra clean before crawling into our giant bed.

I forget to cut my toenails two weeks past the last time I remembered that I forgot to cut my toenails. They scratch my husband’s shins all night long. I am amazed at how quiet he stays about it.

It is such a journey watching a husband come to life in new ways. I love that there is always more to learn about him.

This morning I showed him an old photo of me from 2011. (Facebook memories never let us forget.) He said Cool cowboy boots. I said Yeah I used to have bangs and lots of cool boots. I was pretty hip. He rolled his eyes and scoffed laughing to himself all the way to the shower. He was like Yeah babe you were so hip then.

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Photo by my friend Bridgitte Sifton.

Seven years ago I had more flair, but I know the truth about that girl. She may have had hip boots and bangs, but she didn’t know anything about loving herself, about courage or dedicating herself to anything. She did not understand how to walk into her body and stay there. She did not know how to let anyone in.

I feel pretty hip now. I feel brave now.

I call my mother twice a week. I FaceTime with my dad and grandparents. I am best friends with my husband. I have purpose and enough confidence to apply myself to something meaningful. I feel closer to where I came from and to my truth all the way out here in Japan.

Sobriety never stops feeling like the best decision of my entire life, and it is only the beginning.


For more on the sobriety journey, follow The OAM on Instagram @the_oam, and check out The OAM facebook page (click here). 

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